Friday, June 11, 2010

Switzerland was Cool

Tours, France-- Well, there really is no good way of doing this because it has been so long. This post will give you a bit of a recap of our trip in Switzerland (June 3-8) and we will shoot out another about our trip in the Loire valley after.

We played a word association game about Switzerland during our final dinner together with the Samsons while we enjoyed the last of our fondue and Pinot Gris wine. Expensive, clean, neat, clocks , efficient, Hybrid (German/French), cheese, chocolate, mountains. The amalgamation of all these things is the basic outline for what we think Switzerland is. It was strange because closer to Germany -in Basel and Zurich-  it felt very German (we guess) and in Geneva, it felt very French.

We visited four cities: Basel, Zurich, Luzern, and Geneva, and also Mount Pilatus during our busy four and a half day visit. Personally, I liked Zurich the best. It has a beautiful waterfront chock full of sunbathers, people playing music, cafes, plenty trees for shade and plenty of grass to lounge on and just watch the sailboats go by in the Zurichsee. There is also an overabundance of contemporary architecture in Zurich including some gorgeous Calatrava works (everyone loved his library).

Basel, our first city we visited, was a sharp contrast from the wine-soaked, Germanic Alsace region of France where we had come from. It was neat (not messy), cutting edge (not dwelling on its past), and the people were nice (not at all French). We enjoyed our time with Swiss fondue and Fischerstube beers as well as running around from Herzog and Demuron to Richard Meier architecture landmarks.

Geneva was the big disappointment. Though it was acclaimed, we did not find it to be so beautiful, but rather just burgeoning with Rolexes, Ferraris and Bentleys. The Jet d'eau was impressive, as were the kosher restaurants, but all-in-all we did not believe that it lived up to its hype.

 The real beauty of Switzerland is its wilderness. On the train, between cities, the mountains and greenery was breathtaking and the view from snowcapped Mt. Pilatus was awe-inspiring. Lake Luzern is as beautiful as Lake Como and the cogwheel train-ride down the mountain was unforgettable.

Switzerland might be a small and neutral place, but our trip was a nice break from France and gave us insight into Sig's (our neighbor) formative years. Cheers to Switzerland and to the Samson family vacation.

New Album of Alsace, France and Switzerland: 

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